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H4                                         VERDICT   OX  2VDIA
'Why not ?"
c Because he g^t the original &ore by falling oil -<i pipal tree.
As you know, a pipal tree is sacred, and he ought not to have
climbed up it at ail. So he thinks that he fell off because the gods
are angry with him. and that it would be wicked to try to avoid
his punishment/
Hussein, my own bearer, ought to have been introduced long
ago. He has been with me everywhere, and carried me in his arms
on many occasions when I could not walk. He is a strapping
Pathan. over six foot, with a variety of costumes which strike
awe into the eye of the beholder. He first endeared himself to
me by a remark he made when I asked him the profession of his
previous employer.
" He very good sahib,' he said. * He lieutenant in army and navy/
He is very jealous of my friends. For instance there is a charm-
ing young Chinese girl staying here, who sometimes comes in to
sit and talk. Hussein glares at her as if she were poison, and
bitterly resents my asking for her company. *Is Miss Wong in ?*
I inquire imxocently. c Yes sahib,' he retorts. 'That China mem-
sahib, she is in. She is always in. She is never going out, not
that China memsahib/
Every morning, when he comes* in to draw the blinds, he looks
at me and shakes his head. 'Lot of trouble, sahib, you have in
India. Lot of trouble.3 Then he adds, 'But God, He will be
coming down one day.'
I pay Hussein far too much—so very much too much that if
any English people ask what he gets I tell them half, and even
then, they explode. This over-payment is due to weakness rather
than generosity, on my part. Or is it ? Weakness in one sense, yes,
because I simply have not the face to ask servants to go out and
buy flowers which cost as much as a whole week of their salary.
But perhaps I may also claim to be animated by more altruistic
motives. The average wage for a bearer in the city is 35 rupees a
month, which is just about 13 shillings a week. On this he has to
feed himself and his family, send money to his relations, amuse
himself, and \save/ When I suggest to other employers that he
must find life somewhat difficult, they snort and say, 'These people
<>an live on the smell of an oil rag/ Maybe they can, but I do not